(Essays and Such)
One of my pet peeves is that there are so very few actual bondage stories out there, as opposed to BDSM stories that happen to have a lot of bondage included along with the D/s and the SM. The very few I have found all seem to be a variant of “woman is introduced to consensual bedroom bondage games by a partner, and find that she likes it.” To make it worse, I’m either oversensitive or else most other people are blind to just how much SM there is in various “bondage” stories. It makes me feel like a character in the Monty Python “Spam” skit:
Me: Don’t you have any stories without SM in them?
Them: Well, there’s this story, featuring SM, SM, SM, bondage, and SM – it only has a little SM in it…
Now D/s I’m OK with – as long as the D/s is SM-free. This means leaving out humiliation, degradation, and other forms of “mental” SM, as well as excluding the straight-up physical-pain-for-teh-sexy sort of SM. For a long time, I thought I didn’t much like D/s either, but I’m actually a big fan of fantasy female enslavement. It turned out that I was confused by so much of the D/s fiction out there having SM mixed in with it.
I really am most sincerely allergic to SM, to inflicting pain, humiliation, and degradation for “teh sexy.” Instead, what rocks my boat is when pleasure is “inflicted” on the “victim.” Instead of being a character in the Spam skit, I want to be the Monty Python version of the Spanish Inquisition, where the cuffs and collars are comfy, and the “punishments” pleasant ones. (“Cardinal Fang, give her fifteen caresses with the lambswool duster.”)
So I love bondage. I love the fantasy of a bound and barefoot slavegirl, struggling helplessly without the slightest possibility of either hurting herself or getting loose. I love the idea of her cuddling with an affectionate master, as opposed to her being treated like a sexual chew-toy by a bastard master in love with his own masterlyness. I love stories that either leave off the whippings and the groveling in the dirt, or that relegate these things to the villains’ acts of villainy, without any sexiness being imputed to them at all. But stories about these things are so rare that I have to write them myself, and the desire to see more such stories in existence is a major motivator of my writing.
Now this does create certain problems with plotting the stories I want to write. “Slavegirl suffers and struggles under the boot of a Master in love with his own masterlyness” is an easy plot to fall into. So easy, in fact, as to be a trap. Even though I dislike it, I have to make a conscious effort to avoid it. Thus far, I’ve found the best way to avoid this trap is to adopt a template along the lines of “He’s a Master. She’s his slave girl. Together, they fight crime!”
[Note: This is a new, updated version of the essay. The old version can still be found on my Deviant Art account along with this version.](back to top)
Sometimes I wonder how much people want their kinky erotic fiction to be real stories with actual plots, conflicts, and all the other stuff that gives a piece the story-nature. If people skip ahead to the “good parts” then why not write vignettes consisting solely of “good parts,” rather than expending brain-sweat in crafting a plot and in writing out all the non-kinky and non-erotic scenes needed for a complete story?
I know it’s not all one way or the other, but maybe writers - including me - are spending too much effort trying to write all stories, all the time, when we should be doing a greater proportion of simple vignettes, concentrating on the description and setting. Or maybe it’s just me that needs to do this.
The advantage of the traditional story-with-a-plot is that it’s a time-proven way of providing extra interest. If done right, a story will explain why the kinky action is taking place, and will give the reader reasons beyond “hey, it’s kink!” to care about the characters who are being bound or tickled, and/or the characters who are inflicting these things. The disadvantage is that a real story usually requires a number of non-erotic scenes with a lot of non-erotic verbiage. The reader may have to go through a fair amount of material before reaching the “good parts.”
The advantage of the vignette is the other way around. It jumps straight into the hot stuff and will stick to being pure sexy kink all the way to the end. The disadvantage is that there is no reason other than the sexy kink for the reader to be interested in going through to the end. The characters risk being flat and generic, and there won’t be any tension, or any reason for the reader to care about why these particular characters are suffering (or enjoying) the bondage, tickling, etc.
A writer can try to combine the two, producing a piece that’s almost all sexy kink with only a minimal or implied plot. But this is hard to pull off and can easily backfire, with the minimal plot repelling the reader more than it attracts, and thus diminishing the value of the “hot” scenes rather than enhancing them.
One idea might be to write a series of vignettes, all in the same setting (preferably an exotic and interesting one) and with recurring characters. That might make them more interesting to read than simple one-off vignettes.(back to top)
(Apologies in advance for the snooty-sophomoric tone of this piece. I set out to write an “essay” and the word seems to have triggered an Attitude.)
Here I am considering only the flaming heterosexual situation of a barefoot woman bound by a man.
The barefoot, tied-up woman may be nude, dressed in skimpy clothing, or well-dressed except for lacking shoes and stockings. The different combinations of bare feet, bonds, and dress or undress all have their own special attractions.
The woman may be barefoot by choice before encountering the man who binds her, or she may be forced to go barefoot - her captor may make her remove her footwear, or he may remove it for her. Likewise, the clothing that the woman wears (or fails to wear) may be due to her own choice before she encounters her captor, or it may be forced upon her.
Full nudity is powerful in its attractions, but also blatant and extreme. It can make it seem more logical for the woman to be barefoot, but it also can take away from the “specialness” of her feet being bare. And then there is the “perversion” (from the viewpoint of a barefoot bondage fan) of a woman who is nude except for stockings and/or shoes or boots.
Nudity can be something the woman chooses for herself, but it’s more likely to be something forced on her. Even when she does choose it, there is often the sense that the binding man used careful timing to catch her when nude.
If the woman is barefoot by choice, but not nude, the clothing she wears may make her lack of footwear seem typical, or odd, or somewhere in between. Swimsuits go with bare feet, as does lingerie. Bare feet also don’t seem too far out of place with tropical costumes or casual summer-weather clothing. On the other foot, a lack of shoes and stockings is extraordinary when combined with fancy or formal dress. Footwear is a normal part of the costume for a secretary, or a lady lawyer in a business suit, or a woman in a formal evening gown, and the unexpected appearance of naked feet makes things interesting. Either the woman is extraordinarily eccentric, or unusual circumstances drove her to ditch her shoes - or a captor came along to take her shoes away.
A captor can take away footwear for both practical reasons and for symbolic or psychological ones. As a practical matter, shoes and boots can be weapons, or can conceal escape kits. Also, a barefoot prisoner - especially one accustomed to wearing shoes - will generally be less able to run away, even if she does get free of her bonds. As for socks, stockings, and hose, removing these and applying bonds directly over bare skin can make those bonds more difficult to escape. And stockings and hose can even be used as bonds, once removed.
On the symbolic level, bare feet imply vulnerability, submissiveness, and nakedness-in-general. Bare feet combined with other clothing - especially clothing not normally associated with bare feet - also has an implied threat of that other clothing being taken away as well, creating tension and excitement in the scene. But even setting this threat aside, bare feet combined with other clothing can give a double whammy of sexy clothing and sexy (symbolic) nakedness all at once. And of course, putting the barefoot woman into physical bondage enhances all this symbolism.
Likewise, clothing combined with bare feet and bondage can make the naked feet seem even nakeder, highlighting the various symbolic and practical aspects that make barefoot bondage sexy. Or bare-footedness can be part of a fully nude package, where the bare feet make the nudity complete. Or yet again, the woman’s clothing can be skimpy or partial, creating various attractive tradeoffs between the sexiness of a bound woman who is completely nude, and one who is completely clothed except for her lack of footwear.(back to top)
“Damsel in Distress” is in some ways a compromise, something consisting of various overlapping forms. Any given Damsel-in-Distress fan is apt to like some of the forms more than others, especially as a given liked (or disliked) form moves away from the central idea of “damsel tied up.”
Here’s my take on some of the different forms. Of course, any single Damsel-in-Distress scenario may combine more than one.
The damsel is tied & gagged to keep her from escaping and/or giving the alarm as the captor proceeds to obtain the loot he came for - money, jewelry, secret papers, etc. One variant is the kidnapping, where the loot is ransom money paid for the captive damsel’s return.
The damsel is tied up and subjected to a peril that will frighten her, demean her, and/or cause her pain. The darkness of this form will depend on the seriousness of the peril and on whether the damsel is only threatened with the painful & humiliating torments or actually subjected to them. One common variation is for the peril to be (threatened) death.
“Villainous Interruptus,” where a rescuer comes in to foil the captor (or at least his plans) and free the damsel. Most commonly played off a “Tied for Terror” variation, but can be played off on of the other DiD forms. The stereotypical examples are the damsel rescued from the railroad tracks, from the big saw in the timber-mill, or from being a virgin sacrifice to the local dragon.
Here the damsel is restrained in a way as to provide a sexy display, not just for the admiration of the audience, but also for the captor and for other characters within the scenario. One example is the scantily-clad female chained (or at least leashed) at the foot of the tyrant’s throne - as in the famous case of “Slavegirl Leia” and Jabba the Hutt.
This one is my personal favorite. It’s also notable for the “peril” factor being dialed way down - possibly to zero. The damsel is tied up or otherwise restrained, but also pampered. The form may be combined with “Pinned-Down Pin-Up” (e.g. in an odalisque or harem-slave scenario) or with “Gagged for Gold” (e.g. a gentleman kidnapper who keeps the damsel comfortable while waiting for the ransom to arrive.)
This focuses on the point-of-view of the damsel, catering to the fantasy of being tied up and given the thrill of being put into peril. But of course without the peril being a real danger, because then the fantasy wouldn’t be any fun. The “force fantasy” is one version of this, where the peril consists of actually being ravished, but with the ravishment not actually being bad because it was either pre-arranged as part of the game (in real life) or because it’s in fiction and the Power of Poetics is invoked to make the unconsenting sex romantic rather than horrible.
The damsel here is, if not an actual Villainess, then at least a Naughty Girl. The captor here is actually the hero (or a reasonable facsimile), who ties the damsel up in order to keep her from hurting others. One variant has the damsel tied up so that a possessing spirit can be questioned. This blends into “Secured for Safety,” below.
As with “Bad Girl Bound” the captor is the hero or a reasonable facsimile. However the damsel here isn’t Bad, but simply someone who innocently gets into trouble. Thus the damsel is tied to keep her out of peril, rather than putting her into it. This can blend into “Bad Girl Bound” or “Gagged for Gold” if the damsel is simply on the opposite side of the hero-captor, with her bad-person aspects being downplayed.(back to top)